How Cyberpunk 2077 Performs in 2022: Testing Benchmarks, DLSS 3, and Ray Tracing

Even two years after its release, Cyberpunk 2077 continues to be one of the most demanding games on the market. Developer CD Projekt Red consistently updates the game with new features and graphics settings, including the introduction of DLSS 3. In order to gauge how well the game runs in 2022, we delved back into the bustling Night City.

Cyberpunk 2077 System Requirements

System requirements for Cyberpunk 2077
Image courtesy of CD Projekt Red

Since its launch, CD Projekt Red has revised the system requirements for Cyberpunk 2077 to accommodate the expanding array of graphics settings. They now offer seven recommended configurations based on factors such as resolution, graphics settings, and whether or not you want to enable ray tracing. You can find the complete chart of configurations above.

According to our testing, these recommended configurations aim for a target of 30 frames per second (fps) at their respective resolution and graphics settings. For instance, the High recommendation suggests an RTX 2060. However, in our testing, even the more powerful RTX 2060 Super struggles to reach 30 fps at 1440p with the Ultra graphics preset. The good news is that Cyberpunk 2077 allows you to lower the graphics settings, providing the opportunity for improved performance at the expense of image quality.

Overall, the performance of Cyberpunk 2077 is heavily dependent on your graphics card. While a faster processor can help a high-end GPU achieve its full potential, the CPU is typically not a bottleneck in the game. Graphics processing power and sufficient VRAM are the keys to achieving optimal performance.

Cyberpunk 2077 Benchmarks (1080p, 1440p, 4K)

1080p benchmarks for Cyberpunk 2077
Image used with permission by the copyright holder

We have conducted numerous benchmarks for Cyberpunk 2077 as part of our computer component and desktop reviews, providing us with a wealth of data to share. Cyberpunk 2077 serves as a stress test for hardware, demanding significant performance capabilities. However, the game is capable of scaling across a wide range of hardware, particularly with the assistance of upscaling technologies like DLSS and FSR.

1080p is where we have the most comprehensive data, as many graphics cards struggle to handle 1440p or 4K resolutions. To maintain a smooth 60 fps at Ultra settings, an RTX 3060 or Intel’s recent Arc A770 and A750 GPUs are recommended. However, AMD’s competing RX 6600 XT performs better at this resolution.

While higher-end graphics cards offer superior performance, the CPU can still pose limitations. Our data reveals a stair-stepping pattern with increasingly powerful graphics cards, with each reaching a certain performance level. This further highlights the impact of the GPU on Cyberpunk 2077’s performance. Although some CPU bottlenecks exist at 1080p, high-end GPUs typically deliver consistently high performance at this resolution. Investing in a more powerful graphics card can still yield performance gains.

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1440p benchmarks for Cyberpunk 2077
Image used with permission by the copyright holder

At 1440p, there is more variation in performance among high-end options. The RX 6700 XT, for instance, falls short at higher resolutions, making an RTX 3070 Ti a more suitable choice for maintaining a smooth 60 fps at Ultra graphics settings. Graphics cards above an RTX 3080 10GB handle 60 fps comfortably and can even exceed 100 fps with minor adjustments to graphics settings.

4K benchmarks for Cyberpunk 2077
Image used with permission by the copyright holder

4K is where Cyberpunk 2077 truly challenges hardware, making it difficult to achieve 60 fps without an elite-level GPU. In fact, the RTX 4090 is the only GPU we’ve tested that can consistently achieve 60 fps at 4K without upscaling. Even the mighty RTX 3090 Ti falls short, and that’s without considering ray tracing.

These results highlight the disparity with CD Projekt Red’s recommended system requirements. The recommended RX 6800 XT struggles to maintain 40 fps at the Ultra graphics preset. Running Cyberpunk 2077 at 4K with less powerful hardware results in a choppy experience. Despite being one of the best 1440p graphics cards available, the RTX 3060 Ti fails to reach 30 fps at 4K.

Cyberpunk 2077 on Laptops

If you prefer gaming on a laptop, playing Cyberpunk 2077 is still an option, provided you are willing to sacrifice resolution. Given the demanding nature of the game, it is advisable to keep the resolution at or below 1080p, even with a potent gaming laptop like the Alienware x17 R2. Even a mobile RTX 3080 Ti struggles to reach 70 fps.

Cyberpunk 2077 benchmarks for multiple laptops
Image used with permission by the copyright holder

Laptops with less powerful GPUs can expect performance in the 40-50 fps range. Please note that our benchmarks were conducted with upscaling turned off. For Nvidia RTX graphics cards, enabling DLSS upscaling can significantly improve frame rates beyond what is shown in the table.

The distinction between creator- and gaming-focused laptops becomes evident when comparing their performance. A creator laptop like the Gigabyte Aero 16, equipped with an RTX 3080 Ti, delivers impressive results. Yet, even the HP Victis 15 with a GTX 1650 comes close in performance. Understanding the nuances between different laptop models is crucial, as specifications can be misleading when it comes to gaming performance. We recommend reading individual laptop reviews to make an informed decision.

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Ray Tracing in Cyberpunk 2077

1080p benchmarks for Cyberpunk 2077 with ray tracing turned on
Image used with permission by the copyright holder

While Cyberpunk 2077 is already demanding, enabling ray tracing takes it to another level. Even the most powerful GPUs struggle to maintain a smooth 60 fps, and in certain resolutions, no GPU can achieve 60 fps without upscaling. If you don’t have one of the top-tier 4K GPUs, it’s best to disable ray tracing.

At 1080p, an RTX 3060 Ti is the minimum requirement for playable frame rates. Even the significantly more powerful RTX 3080 Ti barely reaches 60 fps. However, less powerful GPUs like the RTX 3050 can still handle ray tracing, provided you enable DLSS and lower the ray tracing quality.

There are noticeable differences between AMD and Nvidia graphics cards. AMD’s current-generation graphics cards lack the ray tracing capabilities of Nvidia and Intel GPUs, resulting in the RTX 3060 outperforming the more expensive RX 6700 XT with ray tracing enabled.

1440p benchmarks for Cyberpunk 2077 with ray tracing turned on
Image used with permission by the copyright holder

The story remains the same at 1440p, with higher resolutions putting even powerful GPUs like the RTX 3090 to the test. Currently, only the RTX 4090 can achieve a consistent 60 fps with ray tracing enabled at 1440p; otherwise, DLSS upscaling is necessary.

At 4K, most graphics cards struggle to reach 30 fps, even those priced above $1,000. To play Cyberpunk 2077 at 4K with ray tracing enabled, upscaling is recommended, even if you possess one of the most powerful GPUs available.

DLSS and FSR in Cyberpunk 2077

Benchmarks for DLSS and FSR in Cyberpunk 2077
Image used with permission by the copyright holder

Cyberpunk 2077 supports Nvidia’s Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS) and AMD’s FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR). Both are upscaling technologies that improve performance, with FSR being compatible across a wider range of GPUs. However, DLSS is exclusive to RTX graphics cards and does not support GTX graphics cards.

We conducted tests using the RTX 4090 to showcase the scaling capabilities of these upscaling options and their various modes, rather than focusing solely on raw frame rates. Overall, FSR provides slightly better performance across different quality modes. The differences are minimal, with only a five-frame gap at the Quality preset for each upscaling feature.

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We recommend using the automatic setting for DLSS or FSR, depending on which option is available to you. This mode dynamically adjusts the quality, striking the best balance between image quality and performance.

While FSR offers superior performance, it falls short in terms of image quality. Cyberpunk 2077 does not support FSR 2.0, which offers significantly improved image quality compared to the first version. There is a noticeable decrease in detail with FSR 1.0 (medium), as shown in the screenshot below. Higher-quality presets fare better, but anything below Balanced results in a rough image. If necessary, it’s better to lower the game resolution instead of using FSR 1.0 on settings below Balanced.

An image quality comparison between FSR and DLSS in Cyberpunk 2077
Image used with permission by the copyright holder

Furthermore, Cyberpunk 2077 will receive a patch introducing Nvidia’s DLSS 3. This update includes frame generation, exclusive to RTX 40-series GPUs (though DLSS 3’s Super Resolution feature is available across all RTX GPUs). Frame generation generates a completely unique frame for every other frame, bypassing GPU rendering entirely. This significantly boosts performance, as evident in the chart above, but it comes with some image quality compromises.

As the generated frame is not processed by your system, certain elements, such as the HUD, are included in the generated frame. This leads to occasional artifacts, exemplified by the quest marker stuttering as it moves across the screen. Fortunately, these artifacts are infrequent and do not significantly impact the gameplay experience.

If DLSS is available to you, it is the recommended option, striking the best balance between image quality and performance. Nevertheless, FSR remains a viable alternative, especially when utilizing the higher-quality presets offered in the game.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Nvidia’s DLSS 3.5 update flips ray tracing on its head
  • Resident Evil 4 Remake PC: best settings, ray tracing, FSR, and more
  • Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 (2022) PC performance guide: Best settings for high fps
  • F1 2022 performance guide: Best settings for high frame rate
  • The best settings for Overwatch 2: Benchmarks, performance

This article is authored by OnSpec Electronic, Inc. For more information, visit OnSpec Electronic, Inc..

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